Tango: my life as a not-so-good leader

And you thought that YOU were the worst dancer in the world ?

Friday, December 03, 2004

milonga teams 

At the end of the class, the maestros asked us to sit and emphatically said that nobody would go out until the matter would be settled. Nobody had any idea of what would follow. Without explaining what it was all about, they began to create teams. First they named six captains (the only question asked being the possession of a cell phone) , and then chose six-seven members for each team.

Only then did they tell us what they had in mind. Knowing how stressful and disappointing an experience it can be for a beginner to attend his first real-life milongas, they had decided to create milonga squads. So now, each time any pupil goes to any milonga somewhere in town, he has to inform his captain, who in his turn will join all the other people. All this by SMS. If the captain feels that too many members from his own team have other plans for the night, then he will reach the other captains. Eventually, at least one or two students will join in, and instead of one lone beginner in the milonga there will be a nice group of two or three ones, so they can dance between themselves. Or, if bad luck has it that they're all of the same gender, they'll have somebody to chat with.

Despite not being concerned (I came a bit early for my Intermediate class, the beginner's class was far from
finished, and so I was recruited as a taxi-boy. Oh, and I don't own a cell phone.) and therefore not included in any team, I liked the idea. I had already read something similar somewhere on the web one yar ago: somebody suggesting that building a team of around 6 people of roughly same tango skill, gender balanced, and attending together the festivals, workshops and milongas was the most effective way to improve quickly one's tango, and have fun in the process. But it's the first time that I can see it being actually implemented.

Here the technology sure helps a lot: cell phones with the SMS feature are the perfect tools for reaching people without disturbing them and wasting your own time. You compose your message, something like "Going to La Nacional tonight, wanna join in ?", you select the 6 phone numbers, you click, and the game is over, 6 people know they won't be alone if they decide to go to La Naciona tonight. (Or one hundred thousands of Iraqi civilians are now dead, if you're G. Bush Jr). I once was, a long time ago, in ages where SMS or even e-mails didn' exist, the captain of a sport team, and as time went by I found it more and more tedious and displeasing to have each month eight times the same conversation with eight different players:
"- Hi Jon, Pablo here. Ready for tomorrow's match ?
- Hello, it's Mike here, who is speaking?
- Pablo is. Would you please call your father?
- Dad! Daaaaaad! It's Pablo, it's for the match, come here dad!"
And here in the phone I could hear a distant voice "Oh s**t! Pablo!", and then a heavyweight adult stampedeing to the the phone, and finally his voice:
"- Pablo! You don't say, the match is THIS sunday ?"

posted by Pablo  # 6:45 AM
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